Ken Medenbach will get his wish to attend part of the Bundy trial in Nevada.
A federal judge this week granted his request, with a list of conditions recommended by federal prosecutors.
The judge said Medenbach’s trip can last seven days to attend the start of the Nevada trial against Cliven Bundy, his two sons Ryan Bundy and Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne and two other co-defendants. Pete Santilli reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and was released from custody last week.
U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane set other conditions for Medenbach: He can’t wear or display any clothing or buttons with messages while in the federal courtroom, noting that he was ordered to remove one that read “jury nullification” and “not guilty” during the Oregon refuge occupation trial.
If he gathers with other Bundy supporters, he must comply with any law enforcement orders to disperse.
He can’t make public insults, use abusive words or gestures intended to provoke a violent response, and he must obey orders from deputy U.S. marshals or court security while in or on the property of the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse.
Though McShane’s order sets Medenbach’s visit from Oct. 10 through Oct. 17, the dates are expected to be altered to reflect the new date of the Nevada trial.
Medenbach is on probation after a 2016 conviction for illegal camping in Josephine County, a federal misdemeanor. He was acquitted last year of all federal charges stemming from his participation in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his two sons and others are accused of conspiring to thwart the government’s roundup of roughly 1,000 cows from public land near Bunkerville, Nevada, in April 2014.
The three Bundys and Payne are accused of leading a conspiracy to enlist self-styled militia members to prevent federal agents from enforcing court orders to remove the Bundy cattle from what is now Gold Butte National Monument. They each face 15 charges including conspiracy, assault and threats against federal officers, firearms counts, obstruction and extortion.
Medenbach’s lawyer Matthew Schindler had argued that Medenbach had a “personal and spiritual relationship with the Bundy family,” and believes “it is a moral imperative to be there providing support.”
Their trial was set to start Oct. 10 but a Nevada judge last week delayed the trial until Oct. 30 after Ryan Bundy was issued a new lawyer and Payne requested a delay, citing concerns that the Oct. 1 Las Vegas mass shooting would prejudice the jury pool. On Oct. 1, a gunmen firing from his 32nd floor room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others before killing himself, police said.
Now Ryan Payne and Ammon Bundy are asking the court to provide potential jurors with new questions to answer on a revised juror questionnaire, related to the mass shooting at the country music festival this month.
Among their recommended questions: “Considering recent events in Las Vegas, do you believe America has a gun culture problem? Yes or No,” “Are citizen militias part of that problem? Yes or No,” and “Will the recent events in Las Vegas make it more difficult for you to sit as a juror in a case that deals heavily with firearms and the Second Amendment? Yes or No.”
Medenbach is appealing his April 2016 conviction and sentence for occupying federal land in Josephine County as part of a mining protest. He set up an illegal cabin on U.S. Bureau of Land Management property near Galice and was sentenced to six months in jail, time served, plus five years of probation. As a condition of probation, he must seek permission before traveling out of state.
Earlier this year, he asked a probation officer for permission to attend the Nevada trial of other Bundy co-defendants but was denied. Medenbach went anyway and was arrested April 12 outside the federal courthouse in Las Vegas.
Medenbach spent a week in custody in Nevada before McShane ordered his release on May 4 over prosecutors’ objections. For violating his probation, he was ordered to be on home detention and electronic monitoring for two months at his home in Crescent.